Stage Door News

Ottawa: Several associated with performing arts among new appointments to the Order of Canada

Monday, July 1, 2019

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, today announced 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The new member list includes 5 Companions (C.C.), 21 Officers (O.C.), including 1 Honorary Officer, and 57 Members (C.M.). Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

About the Order of Canada

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours. Presented by the governor general, the Order honours people whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities.

Close to 7 000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order of Canada. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”). The striking six-point white enamel insignia they wear symbolizes our northern heritage and our diversity, because no two snowflakes are alike.

Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. For more information about the Order of Canada or to nominate someone, visit

Many of the new appointments are people associated with the performing arts. These include:


• Donald McNichol Sutherland, C.C.

Saint John, New Brunswick

For his sustained contributions to the motion picture industry before a global audience and for his championing of social issues.

This is a promotion within the Order.


• Ronnie Burkett, O.C.

Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario

For his superlative artistry and craft in theatre as one of Canada’s pre-eminent dramatic puppeteers.

• Rémy Girard, O.C.

Montréal, Quebec

For his achievements as a versatile film, television and theatre actor, in English and French, and for his dedication to various charitable causes.

• Martin Hayter Short, O.C.

Hamilton, Ontario

For his extensive and multi-faceted contributions to the entertainment industry as an acclaimed television, film and stage actor.

This is a promotion within the Order.


• Renée April, C.M.

Montréal, Quebec

For her costume designs for film and television and for her mentorship in her field.

• Susan Benson, C.M.

Stratford, Ontario

For her extensive contributions to Canadian theatre as an esteemed set and costume designer, notably with the Stratford Festival.

• Aubrey Dan, C.M.

Toronto, Ontario

For his achievements in finance, and for his philanthropic contributions to health care, education and the arts.

• Michel Dumont, C.M., O.Q.

Montréal, Quebec

For his prolific career in theatre, on television and in film, and for his tireless promotion of Quebec dramatic arts.

• Mark Byron Godden, C.M.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

For his creative contributions as a dancer and as a choreographer for many great Canadian dance companies.

• Chan Hon Goh, C.M.

Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario

For her excellence in ballet as a principal dancer, artistic director and cultural ambassador.

• Andy Jones, C.M.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

For his contributions and achievements as a comedian, director and author who celebrates his province’s culture and traditions.

• Walter J. Learning, C.M., O.N.B

Fredericton, New Brunswick

For his leadership in shaping and expanding the scope of theatre in New Brunswick and across Canada, notably as an artistic director.

• Linda Rabin, C.M.

Montréal, Quebec

For her sustained commitment to the world of choreography and as a leader of contemporary dance education for generations of dancers.

• Donald R M. Schmitt, C.M.

Toronto, Ontario

For his rehabilitation of iconic heritage buildings and for his sustainable architectural designs [i.e. the Fours Seasons Centre in Toronto and the additions to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa].


Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country.

Motto and Levels

The Order of Canada’s motto is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”). Her Majesty The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order, and the governor general is the chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order.

Companion – Post-nominal: C.C.

recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement;

Officer – Post-nominal: O.C.

recognizes national service or achievement; and

Member – Post-nominal: C.M.

recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity.

Insignia Description

The insignia of the Order is a stylized snowflake of six points, with a red annulus at its centre which bears a stylized maple leaf circumscribed with the motto of the Order, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”), surmounted by the Royal Crown. It is struck in fine silver and is composed of three individual pieces: the snowflake, annulus and maple leaf. The colour is added by hand through a unique application of opaque and translucent enamel.

The design of the insignia of the Order of Canada dates from 1967, and is credited to Bruce Beatty, C.M., S.O.M., C.D. The technical drawings used by the Royal Canadian Mint in this new generation of the insignia were developed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority at the Chancellery of Honours, part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. The insignia is manufactured by the Mint at its Ottawa facility.


All Canadians are eligible for the Order of Canada, with the exception of federal and provincial politicians and judges while in office. The Order’s constitution permits non-Canadians to be considered for honorary appointments. Members of the Royal Family, governors general and their spouses are appointed in the extraordinary category. There are no posthumous appointments. 

Officers and Members may be elevated within the Order in recognition of further achievement, based on continued exceptional or extraordinary service to Canada. Usually, promotions are considered five years after the first appointment.


Any person or group is welcome to nominate a deserving individual as a candidate for appointment to the Order of Canada. Appointments are made on the recommendations of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, an independent council chaired by the chief justice of Canada. Members of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada reflect the diversity and excellence in Canadian society. Certain members are appointed by virtue of their office; others are appointed for a fixed term to achieve a balanced representation of the various regions of the country.

For more information about the Order of Canada or to nominate someone, visit